To help protect against meningococcal meningitis, a disease that can potentially take a life in 24 hours1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends routine vaccination of adolescents aged 11 through 18 years with meningococcal conjugate vaccine (one dose of vaccine should be administered at age 11 or 12 years, with a second vaccination at age 16 years for children who receive the first dose before age 16 years).2 However, millions of teens are under-vaccinated.3,4 In fact, according to data published by the CDC, 77.8% of teens 13-17 years of age received the first vaccination, only close to 30% received a booster dose.4
The National Association of School Nurses (NASN) and Sanofi Pasteur collaborate on the Voices of Meningitis Campaign, now in its seventh year, to raise awareness of meningococcal meningitis and the importance of prevention.
In 2015, the Campaign's focus is to help improve vaccination rates by motivating parents to ask their teen's health care provider if their teen has received two doses of meningococcal vaccine, as recommended by CDC, to help protect against meningococcal meningitis. Lucy Hale, actress, singer and star of ABC Family's hit show "Pretty Little Liars", has joined Voices of Meningitis as a Campaign ambassador to "raise her voice" to call attention to the importance of protecting teens against meningococcal meningitis. Hale, in collaboration with the Campaign, launched a fun, music-themed competition in four select cities: New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Portland. "Boost the Volume" challenged local high school singing groups to perform an inspirational medley of songs that speaks to the importance of living your best life and serves as a reminder to communities across the country about the importance of protecting against meningococcal meningitis.
One finalist was chosen in each city and has been awarded with the opportunity to perform their medley with Ms. Hale at a concert for their fellow classmates, parents and teachers this spring. As part of the event, Jamie Schanbaum, a meningitis survivor will address the audience to raise awareness of the devastating consequences of the disease and stress the importance of vaccination.
To learn more about the campaign and see videos of the winning groups, visit www.boostthevolume.com.
1. World Health Organization. (2015, February). Meningococcal Meningitis. Retrieved March 5, 2015, from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs141/en/.
2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011, October 14). Meningococcal Vaccines: What You Need To Know. Retrieved March 24, 2015, from http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/hcp/vis/vis-statements/mening.pdf.
3. United States Census Bureau. (2013). Age and Sex Composition in the United States. Retrieved March 24, 2015, from census.gov/population/age/data/2012comp.html.
4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). National, regional, state, and selected local area vaccination coverage among adolescents aged 13-17 years – United States, 2013. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 63(29), 625-633. Retrieved April 23, 2015 from, http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6329a4.htm.